5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. BLASTOFF!!!! We began our thematic unit on Outer Space this past week in kindergarten. By using thematic lessons in the classroom, we are able to take a large topic, such as space, and incorporate it into every subject area. In social development, we transformed our dramatic play center into a rocket ship with a control center. The children helped to design, build, and paint the rocket ship. They started by doing research using our classroom book collection to determine what shape our rocket should be. The center is also packed with large foam sponges (moon shoes), goggles, and rocket power and oxygen packs (for space suits).

Continuing in social studies, we have looked at several diagrams of the planets and stars. Next week, we will create a map of northeast Ohio “as seen from outer space.” The children will have the opportunity to locate their street and add in their houses. We will also add local landmarks and add a map key. In science, the children have been exploring with sand and space action figures. Soon, we will be constructing small scale rockets to build and launch outside.

To incorporate local resources, we were able to expand on our theme and visit the planetarium at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. We had a very educational planetarium show that talked in detail about the night sky, the Earth’s rotation, and constellations. The children have been very fascinated to learn that different colored stars indicates a different level of heat. They made star murals in the classroom by painting red, yellow, and bluish-white stars. In art this week, I had several students that were interested in teaching art lessons. Thus, during centers, they worked at a table, set up supplies, and children came to visit them to either make a rocket ship out of paper, or paint stars and planets. I was amazed at how well they taught their peers how to create something!

We will continue to focus on outer space for the rest of November. In December, we will be doing a literacy focus on the Gingerbread Man stories. We will soon choose a date to perform an original kindergarten gingerbread play. The children will be reading about all different gingerbread stories and we will write the play together as a class. We will also be having our 3rd Annual Polar Express Day right before our holiday break. More information about these fun events will be coming home soon.

PARENT VOLUNTEERS: Please email me if you are interested in volunteering in the classroom. I am asking parents to come in during Writer’s Workshop to work with children. This would include helping them sound out words, develop story ideas, or even working with a small group. We have Writer’s Workshop from about 9:45-10:15 daily. If you are interested, Email me the day you would like to volunteer. (krista at pembrokekids.com)

THANK YOU!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to come in for parent/teacher conferences!! It was such a wonderful experience to be able to sit down with each family and discuss your child’s progress so far in the school year.